Ballet’s The Nutcracker
Stahlbaum’s magical Christmas tree will have more room to
grow this year, since its home on the stage of Proctor’s
Theatre has stretched from 57 to 72 feet high.
Ballet Company’s Nutcracker, a winter perennial at
the Schenectady theater, opens on Saturday. It’s the first
fully staged show in the refitted house, which has been
closed since last spring for Broadway-musical-friendly renovations.
Now 115 feet wide by 60 feet deep, and with 86 automated
line-sets, new lighting and sound systems, the theater is
ready for fabulous special effects.
cast has grown from 110 people last year to 143 this year.
We have an enlarged first act because of the new stage,
and more humor. We have a flamboyant, tipsy butler. And,
of course, we have Bonnie, the horse, who debuted last year.
She’s sure-footed,” says Northeast Ballet’s artistic director,
Myers is excited about the new backdrop built by Adirondack
Scenic of Argyle. “It has 10-foot-tall French doors that
open. It’s out of this world,” she says.
New York City Ballet fans will be thrilled to hear that
former principal dancer James Fayette (who retired last
summer to become an exec with the dancers’ union) is coming
back to dance the Snow duet with former NYCB dancer Deborah
Wingert. The climactic duet of the Sugar Plum Fairy and
her Cavalier will be danced by NYCB principals Jenifer Ringer
and Philip Neal, who will surely revel in the expanded space.
Nutcracker premiered in 1892 at the Maryinsky Theater
in St. Petersburg, but it became an American staple only
after George Balanchine introduced it to New York City audiences
in 1954. Hundreds of cities and towns have added their own
local color to the story of Clara’s dream journey to the
Land of Sweets.
In Northeast’s production, journalist and nondancer Jeffrey
Wilkin will add some new shtick to the British pantomime
role of Mother Ginger. “This is his 7th or 8th year. He
experiments every year,” says Myers.
Child dancers typically move up the ranks of Nutcracker,
beginning as small mice or angels and progressing to the
more difficult roles of flowers or snowflakes. Everyone
aspires to be Clara, the girl who helps defeat the army
of mice and then travels with her toy nutcracker, who has
come to princely life.
This year, though, Myers has chosen three of the tiniest
dancers to share the role of Clara. “I wanted sweetness
this year. I think our country has lost its innocence. I
wanted to bring that back to this family show. We need a
Curtain times for Northeast Ballet Company’s Nutcracker
are 2 and 7 PM on Saturday (Dec. 3), and 2 PM Sunday (Dec.
4) at Proctor’s Theatre (432 State St., Schenectady). Tickets
are $27.75-$19.75 for adults, and $17.75-$9.75 for children.
Call 346-6204 for more information.
gives great quotes. Remembering the change from the bleak
postwar England of his childhood to the poptastic 1960s,
the folk-rock troubadour recently told the Philadelphia
Inquirer, “You might consider [it] to be a black-and-white
world that burst into color in ’64.” That was when Donovan
Leitch was transformed into just “Donovan,” and recorded
a string of hits that embody the folk-pop side of psychedelia:
“Mellow Yellow,” “Sunshine Superman,” “Hurdy Gurdy Man”
and “Jennifer Juniper.” (Let’s not forget the hard-rocking
“Season of the Witch,” either.)
Forty years later, Donovan is relaunching himself. He has
just released Try for the Sun: The Journey of Donovan,
a four-CD box set, and The Hurdy Gurdy Man, an autobiography.
And he’s on tour, which will bring him to the Egg on Monday.
How does he reconcile this commercial blitz with his classic
flower-power sentiments? No problem. Asked about licensing
his songs for TV commercials, he told The Wall Street
Journal, “I consider commercials not selling out, but
selling in.” (That’s pretty droll for a hippie.)
Donovan will perform Monday (Dec. 5) at 7:30 PM at the Egg
(Empire State Plaza, Albany). Tickets are $28. For reservations
and information, call 473-1845.
something new for the holidays, from the New York State
Theatre Institute: King Island Christmas, a musical
about getting a priest and winter provisions to a village
of Inupiag Eskimos before the really bad weather closes
in. Obviously, this is a place where there is no need to
dream of a white Christmas.
The real event happened on King Island, which is in the
middle of the Bering Sea, in 1951. A ship bringing the priest
and supplies was unable to dock in the island’s port because
of high seas; the musical tells the story of how the islanders
banded together to overcome this adversity (and the weather)
in time for Christmas. With a libretto by Deborah Brevoort
and music by David Friedman, NYSTI promises a “simple, loving
and joyful tale based on a true story of people who live
not very far from the North Pole.” (I guess Santa was too
busy with toy production or postwar elf labor problems to
The New York State Theatre Institute will present King
Island Christmas beginning tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 2)
at the Schacht Fine Arts Center (Russell Sage College, Troy).
The run will continue through Dec. 17. Tickets are $20-$10.
For showtimes and reservations, call 274-3200.